I am going up to Flagstaff (4 hour drive) tomorrow with some other Pueblo teachers to visit 3 schools that use a 4×4 block system. That means:
1st semester — 4 classes, 90 minutes each
2nd semester — 4 classes, 90 minutes each
such that one gets an entire year class in one semester. Immediate objections have popped up:
1. What about AP classes which only make sense (because of the actual looming test) year-round? Even if saying “well, they need the extra time anyway” what about honors students who want to take more than one?
2. What happens to electives that only make sense year-round? Will students go insane if they’re in band 90 minutes a day for the entire year?
3. What happens when a student has a semester break from math each year? Do they forget everything even worse than they already do?
4. What happens with absences? If a student misses 3 days due to a simple flu, they’ve missed 6 days worth of curriculum. Technically (by our district rules) 5 days of absences would warrant a No Credit.
I’m obviously going to ask about these things in Flagstaff, but has anyone used (or is using) such a system and can address the problems above?